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Should holidaymakers worry about a Grexit?

What you need to know about a Greek exit from the euro


With many of us looking forward to a break in Greece this summer there are concerns about what a Greek exit from the Eurozone could mean for your holiday.

The good news is that as long as you take sensible precautions before you travel you should have very little to worry about.

If anything does go wrong, use our advice to make a complaint about your holiday booking.

What’s happening now?

The Greek government needs a deal with Eurozone partners soon to secure the final share of its bailout and avoid defaulting on its debts.

Without a deal, a default could push the country towards leaving the single currency – a prospect that has become known as ‘Grexit’ – which could be costly and messy for the international community.

Repayments are due at the end of June, and if a deal cannot be reached between Greece, its creditors and the EU than the Greek government and banks may be forced to take emergency action.

What could happen?

A Greek exit would likely involve an emergency nationalisation of the banks, reverting back to their old currency (drachma) and controls to prevent people taking money out of the country.

But the currency switch won’t be instant. Post Office Travel Money estimates it will take around 18 months for the new drachma to be properly established, and during that time the euro will continue to be used.

How will it affect my Greek holiday?

The main potential problem is a sudden currency crisis if you’re already in Greece, or shortly before you go. You may suddenly find it difficult to withdraw funds from an ATM. 

This happened during the last currency crisis in Cyprus in the spring of 2013. There the government put a cap on how much people could withdraw in order to prevent a run on the banks as everyone rushed to withdraw their money.

It is essential to take enough euros with you in cash to cover your needs while on holiday – you can use the hotel safe as a bank rather than carrying a sizeable wedge of cash around with you.

In the event of a Grexit you’ll still be protected by the Denied Boarding Regulation as long as you fly to or from an EU airport.

Should I book a Greek holiday?

At this stage it’s advisable to book a package holiday as these include both flights and hotel which means you’ll be protected by an ATOL certificate. 

If you’re booking elements of your holiday separately or it doesn’t include a flight, make sure the travel agent is an ABTA member as you’ll be protected by their code of practice.

In any case, it is wise to arrange your travel insurance as soon as your holiday is booked or as soon as is possible to make sure you have protection.

This advice is subject to change, stay up to date with the latest travel advice from the Foreign Office at gov.uk.

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